Student’s heartbreaking reaction to dream school rejection goes viral

Student’s heartbreaking reaction to dream school rejection goes viralStudent’s heartbreaking reaction to dream school rejection goes viral
via Nicole Laeno
A high school senior has gone viral for her and her family’s emotional reaction to her rejection by her dream college.
Key points:
  • Nicole Laeno, 18, uploaded their video reaction on April 3 to TikTok and YouTube, where it has been viewed over 51.2 million and 1.8 million times, respectively.
  • In the video, Laeno explains that she and her family just finished a 12-hour shoot when she was alerted about her college application results from the University of California, San Diego, and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Laeno was rejected from both universities, which has acceptance rates of 23.7% and 8.6%, respectively.
  • After reading the results, and immediately after her brother Christian hugs her, Laeno can be seen suddenly crying. As her brother repeatedly reassures her, her parents, mother Linda and father Noel, appear sad.

The details:
  • Speaking to People, Laeno said that she decided to upload the videos to her social media channels to “share the realness” with her 5.6 million followers on TikTok and 3.41 million subscribers on YouTube.
  • “I also want to show them that this is a normal thing that happens, and it sucks in the moment, but it’s something that you learn and grow from,” Laeno was quoted saying. She described the rejection as feeling like “a breakup, because I was just so connected with UCLA.”
  • Regarding her dream college, Laeno said that she had prepared for it her whole life and that she had always wanted to attend UCLA for as long as she can remember. She said, “I fantasized about UCLA for the longest time. … I was just so excited and I hoped that that would be my place to be.”
  • Laeno also noted to CBS News that she uploaded the video as a way to connect with her followers who are also going through the same process in their lives. She noted, “I’m just really glad I got to share my story with a lot of people.”
  • With UCLA now out, Laeno has decided to attend San Diego State University in the fall, where she will be studying communications.
How people reacted:
  • Many of her followers, fans and other TikTok users offered encouraging messages to Laeno after she shared the videos.
  • Retired Canadian artistic gymnast Christine Peng-Peng Lee commented, “UCLA missed out on a great person.”
  • “You don’t need UCLA, UCLA needs you but they missed out on an amazing opportunity,” a TikTok user wrote.
  • “Everything that’s meant for you will never pass you by I promise,” Canadian actor Maitreyi Ramakrishnan wrote in her supportive message. “Getting rejected from my dream school was the best thing to happen to me.”
About Nicole Laeno:
  • Laeno, who is of Vietnamese and Filipino descent, is a social media influencer who has been active online since the sixth grade. She constantly updates her followers and subscribers through her various vlogs, such as about workout, schooling and everyday life.
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